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Duke Power's Customer Service Receives Industry Honors

In recent weeks, Duke Power has garnered four industry awards recognizing the company for excellence in its customer services operations, one of which is BenchmarkPortal's Center of Excellence award.

Nov. 8, 2004 (CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- In recent weeks, Duke Power has garnered four industry awards recognizing the company for excellence in its customer services operations. "Receiving these awards is a real honor for Duke Power and our employees, " said Angi Clinton, vice president of Duke Power's residential and small business customers department. "Industry recognition for these efforts is rewarding and humbling, but it's the positive validation we receive from our customers that excites us and drives us on," Clinton said.

The awards include: Customer Service Project of the Year, awarded to Duke Power by Electric Light & Power magazine and Chartwell Inc., recognized Duke Power for enhancements the company made to its automated phone answering system. To help create a user-friendly automated phone system, Duke Power conducted focus groups with customers who provided input into the scripts, available options and sources of customer identification. Duke Power has also added a new automated outage reporting system for its customers who speak Spanish. Spanish-speaking Duke Power customers who need to report a power outage can do so by calling 1-866-4-APAGON, anytime, day or night. Customers can also report power-related emergencies, such as lines down, and receive electric safety and storm preparedness information. A Spanish-language option was also added to Duke Power's existing automated outage reporting system (1-800-PowerOn) for customers who are unaware of the new number.

ServiceOne, awarded to Duke Power by PA Benchmarking, recognized Duke Power for providing exceptional service to customers using measures of excellence in customer care. These measures were selected by an advisory group of industry experts to provide comprehensive, quantitative measurement of service attributes that matter to both customers and shareholders. The measures considered included meter reading, billing, call center, field service, credit and collections and theft protection.

Utility ACE Award, awarded to Duke Power by The Energy Planning Network, also recognized Duke Power in the area of residential customer care for enhancements the company made to its automated phone system. The Utility ACE Program received entries from utilities based in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe, the United States, South America and Canada. Winners for each category were determined by a panel of judges who scored entries on project innovation, project benefits, project management and application quality.

Center of Excellence, awarded by BenchmarkPortal through the Purdue University Center for Customer-Driven Quality, certifies that Duke Power's customer contact center ranks in the top 10 percent of the 20,000 call centers studied for efficiency and effectiveness.

About Duke Power Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation's largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity and value-added products and services to more than 2 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. In 2004, Duke Power celebrates 100 years of service. The company operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,900 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: Duke Energy is a diversified energy company with a portfolio of natural gas and electric businesses, both regulated and unregulated, and an affiliated real estate company. Duke Energy supplies, delivers and processes energy for customers in North America and selected international markets. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: Contact: Paige Layane Phone: 704/594-0369

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"Becoming a Call Center of Excellence can be a game changer for businesses. Fighting to keep customers in today’s economy is paramount to most companies and the Center of Excellence distinction has helped drive us to that end result. Going through this process yearly continues to challenge us to improve processes and service levels. The detailed process that BenchmarkPortal provides in comparing our data with a large peer group is unparalleled. At the end, you have a clear roadmap of what is working well and what needs focus and attention for improvement. Because of this, we have been able to develop plans each year to drive better results and better customer experiences. This, coupled with a knowledgeable staff, helps us to close the gaps and continue to achieve excellence in every area. Every call center out there should be doing this benchmarking process; we are proof that it works."


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